Monday, August 18, 2008

Q&A: Associate Head Strength Coach Keith Gray

Keith Gray came to Georgia as an assistant strength coach in 1998 and was promoted to Associate Head Strength Coach in the summer of 2003. He has been a part of 9 bowl teams at Georgia including the '03, '06 and '08 Sugar Bowls as well as two SEC Championship teams.

Gray graduated from Virginia Tech where he lettered at linebacker for the Hokies. In 1994 he earned the highest strength award at Virginia Tech, the "Super Iron Hokie". His previous coaching stops were at Southern Illinois and Auburn University.

Gray has also worked as an assistant strength coach and Director of Strength and Conditioning for the Georgia Gymnastics team. It goes without saying, but Gray has been an integral part of physically preparing the premier collegiate female athletes in the country.

Coaches like Gray are a big part of why Georgia's football team has finished ranked in the top 10 in 5 of the past 6 seasons. We had a chance to spend some time with Gray lately, and we asked him a few questions regarding players he has coached in his time in Athens.

C&C: Pound for Pound, who is the strongest player you have coached in Athens?

KG: That’s easy, Thomas Brown is pound for pound the strongest person I’ve ever heard of.

C&C: Pound for pound, who is the strongest player on campus right now?
KG: Bryan Evans.

C&C: Which former player had the best work ethic in the weight room?
KG: There have been a bunch, but some that stand out are Will Witherspoon, J.T. Wall, Tony Gilbert, David Pollack and Thomas Brown.

C&C: Which current player has the best work ethic in the weight room?
KG: Probably Shaun Chapas, Fred Munzenmaier and Mohamed Massaquoi.

C&C: What one exercise would you say translates the best to on the field success in football?
KG: Power Clean.

C&C: Do you feel like you can tell from watching the work ethic of a walk-on early in their career, whether or not they'll contribute on the field before they leave UGA?
KG: Usually you can tell that with scholarship athletes as well as walk-ons. Watching how a player works and approaches his training will tell you a lot about how he will be able to develop and potentially contribute. It will also tell you a lot about his attitude and how much he cares about what he is doing.

C&C: Who is the most physically gifted incoming freshman you have ever coached?
KG: Richard Samuel, from this year’s freshman class.

C&C: Who is the offensive and defensive player that you think will burst onto the scene this season that no one knows about yet?
KG: Justin Fields at fullback and Justin Houston at defensive end.

C&C: Who is the most influential (or inspirational) person that you have ever worked for or with?
KG: Mike Gentry, the Director of Strength & Conditioning at Virginia Tech has probably had the biggest impact on my life as a football player, and subsequently, as a strength coach.

C&C: As a former English major and talented writer, what is the best book you have read in the past year?
KG: Three books actually, two by Harlan Coben…”Tell No One” and “Gone For Good”, and a biography of Walt Disney…pretty interesting.


Worm said...

Thanks Coach. Richard Samuel must be a special kinda player. I was suprised we didnt hear anything about Curran. We are just so young and talented it is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Interesting and informative. Gray is definitely a coach that doesn't get enough credit. Thanks for putting this on here.

Anonymous said...

Great interview! Thanks for that.

Bop said...

Glad you enjoyed it. As always...thanks for visiting.

Otto said...

Great interview!!!

I have read both of those Coban books..... nice taste Coach.

For just turning 17 we sure hear a lot of great things about R, Samuel, me thinks he will go down as one of the greats to wear the R&B!!